Iraqi Christian & Muslim Leaders Call for Release of Kidnapped Archbishop
The Chaldean community has been negotiating with the kidnappers for the release of archbishop Faraj Rahho.
Mourners stand around the coffin of Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul Paulos Faraj Rahho’s guard, killed by gunmen, during his funeral in church in Mosul, 390 km (240miles) northwest of Baghdad, February 28,2008. Gunmen kidnapped the archbishop and killed his driver and two guards on Friday, police said. (REUTERS/Stringer)
Christian and Shiite Muslim clerics on Saturday called for releasing the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Faraj Rahou, who was kidnapped in Mosul on Friday.
Paul al-Rayan, the Bishop of Duhuk and al-Imadiya, called on the abductors to release Archbishop Rahou, who was kidnapped during the ceremonies to mourn his three killed guards.
Rayan lauded the kidnapped cleric as a “symbol for religious and social tolerance,” and described his church in Mosul as a place “open for both Muslims and Christians.” Meanwhile, Shiite cleric Qassem al-Taie condemned in a statement the clergyman abduction and appealed to the government to “tackle this issue and to speed up efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped” clergyman.
The Chaldean Church leaders are negotiating for the archbishop’s release:
The Syriac Christian archbishop of Mosul, Baptiste Georges Casmoussa, himself a kidnap victim two years ago, said he had begun negotiating with the kidnappers for his Chaldean counterpart’s release.
“We received a telephone call from the kidnappers and have begun negotiations for the release of Monsignor Farraj Rahhu,” the Rome-based missionary news agency MISNA reported Casmoussa as saying.